Norwegian oil and gas company Vår Energi has together with its partners Equinor (operator) and Horisont Energi, been awarded the Polaris CO2 storage license in the Barents Sea,
The Polaris CO2 storage reservoir is located in the Barents Sea, ca 100 km off the coast of Finnmark. It represents a key component of the Barents Blue project which Vår Energi is further developing towards a concept selection in collaboration with Equinor and Horisont Energi, Vår Energi said.
The Barents Blue project partnership plans to use the Polaris reservoir to permanently store CO₂ captured from the Barents Blue facility in the Hammerfest region. Barents Blue will enable the production of carbon-neutral ammonia reforming natural gas from the Barents Sea to clean, blue ammonia, using carbon capture and storage.
"We are aiming to become a net-zero producer, scope 1 and 2, by 2030, and the Barents Blue and Polaris could become an important step towards being carbon neutral. As an owner of major resources in the Barents Sea, we are committed to effective resource management and value creation in the region," Bjørn Thore Ribesen, VP Field Development and Projects, said.
Vår Energi entered into the Barents Blue partnership with Equinor and Horisont Energi to explore the possibilities for producing blue ammonia from natural gas, with CO2 capture and storage in Hammerfest, in September 2021. This was followed by a cooperation agreement with the partnership for the development of the Polaris CO2 storage concept signed in the same year.
The license was awarded to the Polaris project partnership by the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, as part of the announcement of CO2 storages on the Norwegian Continental Shelf on April 5.
Separately, Equinor said it had secured operatorship on its own, of the Smeaheia offshore CO2 storage license in the Norwegian North Sea, where Equinor had submitted plans to develop the CO2 storage capacity at 20 million tonnes annually.
Equinor said this entailed a sharp increase in the capacity to store CO2on a commercial basis on the Norwegian continental shelf, as Northern Lights, the CO2 storage facility in the Longship project, has a planned injection capacity of 1.5 million tonnes a year in Phase 1 available from 2024 with plans to develop the capacity to 5-6 million tonnes a year from around 2026.
"Through these two projects, Equinor aims to contribute to CO2 reductions equivalent to half of Norway's annual emissions. Equinor has ambitions to develop further storage licenses in the North Sea in the coming years with the aim of building a common, pipeline-based infrastructure that can contribute to substantial cost reductions for the CCS value chains," Equinor said.